Gigabyte GV-NX66T128VP review
The 6600 GT might not have the performance headroom of the X800 XL, but if you want a quiet gaming rig on a more modest budget, this is the card to choose.
We're pretty impressed by the GeForce 6600 GT; it always scores well in our benchmarks and the A-Listed Sparkle card has just dropped below £100 inc VAT. The extra price of this Gigabyte card is due to the bigger heatsink, and its Turbo Force classification. The latter means that Gigabyte has cherry-picked the best GPUs and RAM for this model and overclocked them to 500MHz and 560MHz respectively.
In practice there was little difference between this card and any other 6600 GT: but it still performs incredibly well for something that costs £116. Doom 3 and Far Cry scored in the mid-50fps region at 1,280 x 1,024, and Half-Life 2 was also playable at this resolution, despite our high-detail settings. Throwing 4x AA and 8x AF proved too much though, with scores dipping under the 30fps mark of playability. Still, to run every game in our test suite using their most detailed textures and effects at 1,280 x 1,024 is impressive.
The pre-overclocked GPU and RAM don't require a particularly chunky heatsink, unlike the cards opposite. And it doesn't get too hot either, although you'll still need to draw this heat out of your case. This isn't a design flaw, but the nature of a passively cooled card: you can forego the tiny, screaming onboard fan for a larger case fan. Once fitted, you can marvel at some high-resolution gaming at 1,280 x 1,024 - the native resolution of so many TFT panels. If you want a quiet PCI Express gaming rig on a reasonable budget, this is the card for you.